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Quick & Easy Marketing Tips for Pool Builders

Tips 1 – 10: How to get free and nearly-free advertising…

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

A few months ago, the APSP asked me to collaborate on a collection of marketing and advertising tips for pool builders. Inspired, I cranked out a list of 44 different pieces of advice, and wrote up a short, to-the-point explanation for each. To make the list easy to digest, I broke these nuggets down into the following seven groups:

  1. Free & Nearly-Free Advertising
  2. Paid Advertising
  3. ALL Advertising
  4. Using The Internet
  5. Get Referrals
  6. Salesmanship
  7. Get Free Advice

The APSP adopted many of these tips and created a handy little booklet called “35 Ways to Generate Leads and Increase Sales.” (If you’re an APSP member, you probably received a copy with your membership renewal.) Personally, I think all 44 tips have merit, and every pool builder should have access to them. So over the next few newsletters, I’ll share all of these with you. Today we’ll look ten tips on Free & Nearly-Free Advertising.

BUSINESS CARDS – Take advantage of all that free space on the back of your business card. Say more about your company. Include a map to your location. Mention the organizations to which you belong.  If you offer a free DVD, mention that. ANOTHER TIP: Avoid using “gloss” on the back. It makes it nearly impossible for people to write on the back, and some people still like to do that.

ELEVATOR PITCH – Create a standardized “company statement” that defines exactly who you are and what your advantages are, in 30 seconds or less.  Make it interesting and believable, which means no platitudes! Teach all of your people to use it, and test them on it.

FACILITY SIGNAGE – Make sure your facility signage is lit up at night, even when you’re closed, and you will double the number of eyeballs that see your name, location and facility.  Much cheaper cost-per-lead than newspapers and Yellow Page ads.

FREE LISTINGS — You can advertise your business for free at a variety of websites and Internet groups, including,,, Google Maps and many more.

JOINT VENTURES — Proactively reach out to landscape architects, homebuilders, and/or real estate agents, as appropriate in your market. All of these people work with homeowners who may be looking for a swimming pool.  “Reaching out” may be as simple sending them a letter, or as aggressive as a series of 52 packages and postcards. For more direct impact, you might consider taking them to lunch, or offering an educational presentation about pool construction or maintenance at one of their upcoming meetings.

MARQUEE — A low cost marquee in front of your facility can generate increased visibility for your business, especially if you take the time to update it on a regular basis. For example, if you sell hot tubs, you could easily come up with 52 catchy headlines to put on your marquee.  Update the headline every Monday morning, and people will look forward to seeing your next clever headline.

NAME BADGES — Always wear your name badge on the right. It makes it much easier for people to read your name when you reach out to shake their hand. You want them to remember you, don’t you?

NETWORKING – Have your sales people attend networking meetings on a regular basis.  In a room of 50 people, chances are good that least 2 of them are either thinking about buying a pool, or know someone who’s thinking about buying a pool.  Bring at least 50 business cards with you, because many of these groups will allow you to pass your cards around the room. Be sure to use your elevator pitch!

PRESS RELEASES — If you have anything remotely newsworthy happening in your business, be sure to send a short simple press release to your local media.  The key is that it has to be newsworthy.  If it’s simply a self-promoting advertisement, they’ll ignore your release and direct you to the ad department.  But if you win an award, move to a new location, or do something special for the community, most news outlets would consider that newsworthy.  If you’re not very good at writing your own press releases, you can get some good low-cost assistance at Try to do this at least twice a year.

YARD SIGNS — The only pool builders that don’t get new leads from yard signs are the builders that don’t use yard signs. As long as the homeowners association doesn’t restrict it, make sure every job in progress has a yard sign out front, with your phone number and Web address. Make sure the sign is readable from 30 feet away.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Next week, we’ll take a look at “paid advertising,” and how to maximize return and minimize risk with those.

Till then – Good selling!

Brett Abbott Signature

Brett Abbott

2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc.  May not be used without permission.

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